Areas of focus help / tips?


I would like to separate my tasks in areas of focus. The traditional Life Areas do not seem to work too great for me, I would like some examples or advice of how other people use it.

Since I cannot really work with scheduling tasks in advance on certain days (tried that in Todoist, and one bad or busy day and my whole schedule is messed up).

I want to start designating time blocks to a certain day where I know in advance what type of work I will be doing. This can be reflected in areas as I can narrow down on what the actions are in that area.

Sofar I came up with these areas;

  • +Family - Tasks my family wants from me (chores, stuff to do)
  • +Personal - Personal projects
  • +Household - Recurring chores, things around the house, cleaning
  • +Leisure - Stuff to do when there is free time
  • +Relationships - Stuff to do with either my wife, friends or other people I hold dear
  • +Maintenance - (thinking about this one) - Projects and tasks to fix things in and around the house

I have labels across all areas, like computer, admin etc. Work is on a separate EverDo instance.

Do you guys have any tips on approaching a time blocked system where areas can be used to pick from?

I use the Area-function based on real areas or tools in combination with tags (Area of Focus).

My areas are:

@home - everything that I can do only at my flat
@work - everything that I can do only at my work place
@garden - everything I can only do at my garden
@errands - everything I have to leave my flat for (+ location tag)
@handy - that is actually a tool for me and my @everywhere, but I want also to do stuff at my phone at home so its a little bit a mixed thing between an area and a tag for me (@Computer + @Tablet are always at home for me)

So now when I’m at these different locations I can filter them with the area view an I see only what I can physically can do at these places. I defined some tags for my “Area of Focus”, mostly in capitalized letters so I can differ them from other tags.

My areas of focus are for example:

HOUSEHOLD - chores, everything that needs to be cleaned or repaired
BLOG - everything regarding my Blog; taking pictures, write stuff…
LANGUAGE - tasks I want to complete to improve my language skills (I think one for every language is appropriate)
PROJECT - Every big project also has an area of focus for me, so i can use a time block in my calender. And I also can create sub-projects and single tasks for them.

For example I’m at home and I blocked my time to do some stuff for my Blog. I just choose the area @home and then filter my next list with BLOG.

To use area of focus as areas in everdo did not really work for me. I always ended up using no filter and seeing all the stuff all the time.

Hi, this is really informative but a bit unclear. To see if I get it right, you use tags of type “Area” for @home, @work, etc and then labels for HOUSEHOLD, BLOG, etc?

That might have been my problem, I filter areas per discipline, but never where I actually am, or what the focus is. And I am just looking at a huge list of a lot of things to do, but since my +Household (area) can be done at home, but also +Family matters can be done at home (but not perce), and maintenance as well, it becomes too scattered.

Using an area for actually “areas” tied to physical movements (never would have thought of errands being an area as well), and labels for the activities or things that you have going on and work on is very clever.

Thank you for this insight, I will see if I can apply something similar too.

Yes that is exactly what I meant! :slight_smile: Sorry for the confusion!

I’m glad that I could help a little bit. You are describing the same problems I had before changing to use actual “areas”…

Did you already read Andreis fabulous blog post about the matter?

Especially this one was a real enlightenment for me personally:

Everdo areas should not to be confused with areas of responsibility described in Getting Things Done as one of the horizons of focus.
The list of areas of responsibility is a tool to track and evaluate all the commitments that you have. On the other hand, Everdo Areas are intended for applying top-level filtering to your projects and actions to reduce clutter and simplify the choice of next actions.

In general, it’s not optimal to create an Everdo area for each area of responsibility. Instead, you should use the principles outlined in the previous section and try to clearly partition your items by context, environment or a time block.

The Everdo areas are more like top level roles. Of course embedded in those roles I have lots of different AoFs and AoRs to fulfill.

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That is an amazing post indeed! Thank you for sharing, and @Andrei for writing it up. I think I just found the missing link why I was never engaged properly in my areas, as they were too broadly defined and then everything felt equally important. I’ll have fun this weekend rearranging some tasks :slight_smile:

Hello, all. This is a very interesting thread.

In my opinion, the way you were doing seems correct to me.
I am having difficulty understanding the recommendation that Everdo areas are not Areas of Focus/Responsibility.
The way I see it, they should be, while context tags support the filtering by physical location.

For reference, I raised this in the original thread too: How to Define and Use Everdo Areas Effectively- Everdo - #11 by LuisNeto .